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Doctors Support Medicinal Use of Cannabis


MEDIA RELEASE -- 3 OCTOBER 2003

Doctors Support Medicinal Use of Cannabis - Politicians Should Stop Blocking Access, Says NORML.

Chris Fowlie, spokesperson of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML NZ), today championed the results of a survey showing that New Zealand doctors support the prescription of marijuana for medical purposes, and called for politicians stop blocking access to medicinal cannabis and let the doctors get on with it.

The study - the first of its kind carried out in this country - gives a first-hand indication of the views of registered doctors in New Zealand.

"The high response rate to the survey clearly showed the keen level of interest in medicinal cannabis by medically-qualified personnel", said Mr Fowlie. "Nearly half reported they have patients who had expressed an interest in using cannabis to treat their condition, and one third of doctors believed that they should be allowed to prescribe cannabis. They should not be ignored."

Mr Fowlie said the survey results backed the recent recommendation of the Health Select Committee that the Government supporting the prescription of clinically tested medicinal cannabis products.

"The Minister of Health should stop avoiding the issue and show some compassion. While the government continues to delay, seriously ill people continue to suffer.

Mr Fowlie said while the results of the survey are pleasing, they were "hardly surprising considering the sheer volume of evidence that showed the efficacy of medicinal cannabis."

"There is a recorded history of medical cannabis use that stretches back over 3000 years. In New Zealand cannabis tinctures were available over the counter right up until 1927 when marijuana was prohibited. Cannabis preparations were then the second-most prescribed medicines, and the ban was opposed by the British and American medical associations.", he said.

Decribing the decision to allow the medicinal use of cannabis again as only a matter of time, Mr Fowlie said "when the Minister of Health eventually gives doctors the go-ahead to prescribe medical cannabis, it will bring New Zealand into line with the compassionate policies of the Netherlands and Canada who already allow the prescription of cannabis medicines, and Australia and the UK who are about to."

ENDS

For more information, call Chris Fowlie on 027 297 6843 or 09 309 8653

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